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Thread: U.S. Federal Courthouse - 225 Cadman Plaza East - Downtown Brooklyn - by Cesar Pelli

  1. #16
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    None of those other "fancy" courthouses would've made it in Brooklyn. They probably would have been attacked for being too out-of-character. We don't get anything nice because we've managed to convince ourselves that anything shiny and modern is evil.

  2. #17

    Default Islip and Brooklyn Federal Courthouses

    A few comments from someone who has worked on both:

    Remember that the Brooklyn courthouse is not the original design. When Schumer was elected, all the support for the courthouse in the senate was lost and GSA refused to sign any of the original bids. The building had to be redesigned and was pushed back a few years because Schumer did not want to be part of any of his predecessor's projects. Brooklyn ended up with a much smaller courthouse that cost much more money and took much too long to build as a result.

    That said, it is a more comfortable building to work with than Central Islip. The Meier building looks great from far away, but it a nightmare to work with. The HVAC is terrible, power is a constant problem, insulation is incomplete (imagine a frozen waterfall in a judge's chambers for a small example of the problems they've seen), and it is a very sterile and depressing building to work in. The Pelli building is much warmer (not only in pallete, but in atmosphere) and feels "sturdier." The courtrooms are far more advanced technologically and the work spaces are more conducive to communication among functional units within the court. The link to the north wing is stunning and there are some great views of the City and Brooklyn from many of the chambers.

    One of Meier's other courthouses, the US District Courthouse in Phoenix, AZ, is similar to the CI courthouse in many ways -- it is very white, spacious, sterile, and an HVAC disaster. It seems that he sacrifices function for form too easily.

    Many of the other contruction projects mentioned earlier enjoyed cheap land. It would be impossible to use much more land than they did in Brooklyn -- it's too bad they could not have extended it further vertically.


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  3. #18
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    While I am happy to hear that the interiors of the new Brooklyn courthouse are nice -- I am really dissapointed with the exterior.

    Pelli really phoned in the design of this building. The base is too short and the tower seems oddly proportioned as if it was cut off. Meanwhile the windows seem to evoke the feeling of a prison rather than a courthouse and the glass used seems very 1950's.

    In general, the building could have been so much better, and should have been better, coming from someone who gave us Bloomberg Tower and the World Financial Center or Goldman Sach's tower in Jersey City.

  4. #19
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    The court's square base is what is most offensive. This is becoming unfortunately too common in NYC architecture.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by macreator
    ...Meanwhile the windows seem to evoke the feeling of a prison rather than a courthouse and the glass used seems very 1950's...
    I thought it integrated very nicely with the existing building largely due to the choice of glass.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diacritical
    A few comments from someone who has worked on both:

    Remember that the Brooklyn courthouse is not the original design. When Schumer was elected, all the support for the courthouse in the senate was lost and GSA refused to sign any of the original bids. The building had to be redesigned and was pushed back a few years because Schumer did not want to be part of any of his predecessor's projects. Brooklyn ended up with a much smaller courthouse that cost much more money and took much too long to build as a result.

    That said, it is a more comfortable building to work with than Central Islip. The Meier building looks great from far away, but it a nightmare to work with. The HVAC is terrible, power is a constant problem, insulation is incomplete (imagine a frozen waterfall in a judge's chambers for a small example of the problems they've seen), and it is a very sterile and depressing building to work in. The Pelli building is much warmer (not only in pallete, but in atmosphere) and feels "sturdier." The courtrooms are far more advanced technologically and the work spaces are more conducive to communication among functional units within the court. The link to the north wing is stunning and there are some great views of the City and Brooklyn from many of the chambers.

    One of Meier's other courthouses, the US District Courthouse in Phoenix, AZ, is similar to the CI courthouse in many ways -- it is very white, spacious, sterile, and an HVAC disaster. It seems that he sacrifices function for form too easily.

    Many of the other contruction projects mentioned earlier enjoyed cheap land. It would be impossible to use much more land than they did in Brooklyn -- it's too bad they could not have extended it further vertically.


    --
    Interesting. I like the Meier design of the Islip Courthouse, but every attorney I have ever spoken with who has dealings in that building hates it. Maybe that was Meier's intent.

  7. #22
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPC
    Interesting. I like the Meier design of the Islip Courthouse, but every attorney I have ever spoken with who has dealings in that building hates it. Maybe that was Meier's intent.
    Well, that's one way to keep the wheels of justice moving ... make sure the lawyers want to get out of there as quickly as possible ... heheh ...

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